Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Harav Alter Chanoch Henoch HaCohen Leibowitz, zt"l
(Many Thanks To A Reader For The Picture.)
Rosh Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim Passes away at the age of 91. Here's what I know so far: He was born near Kovno in 1916 to his father Harav Dovid Leibowitz, who later was a member of the Kovno Kolel. Reb Dovid was a great nephew of the Chofetz Chaim, zt"l. In 1926 RDL came to America to collect funds for the Kolel and was asked by RSFM to stay here and accept the position of Rosh Yeshiva of the newly-founded Mesivta Torah VoDaas. Much of RDL's history was mentioned in this post. I haven't heard a date when RDL brought his family to America, he didn't have them with them in 1926, and I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed in Kovno for a while longer. I know that RDL passed away at a young age in 1941, and that RHL, in his mid-20s became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yisroel Meir HaCohen, the Yeshivah his father had founded 7 years prior. RHL himself married Pesha, the daughter of Rav Avrohom Trop, son of Reb Naftoli, z"l.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that Chofetz Chaim is the black sheep of the Yeshivisher Velt, even if you thought Chaim Berlin was. Reb Henoch didn't seem to be affected by the whole Eretz Yisroel/Brisk revolution among the rest Yeshivisher Velt. I don't recall seeing his name on various Kol Korehs, nor do I think he was on Moetzes. No six-inch wide Brisker Peyos, neither. His Talmidim are what you call American. Some wear ties during the week, just like many others did through the 60s; Chofetz Chaim saw no reason to change, even if the others did. Reb Henoch built a large network of schools and Yeshivos; he saw it as his goal to build yiddishkeit in America, and he did that to his last days. Chofetz Chaim today is a movement, if not a lifestyle; they wear their Chofetz Chaim pride on their sleeves, thanks to RHL. His Talmidim had a unending amount of love and respect for him, even decades after leaving yeshiva. He leaves behind thousands of talmidim who grieve for his loss.